This session presents a spectrum of applications of life cycle assessment (LCA) in various industries, such as pet services, chemical manufacturing, lighting, and packaging.  In addition to learning the results of the LCA applications, the audience will take away examples to support internal and external decision making for sustainability including across the value chain, product eco-design efforts, commercial engagement, manufacturing, and customers and the general public.

Key Discussion Points:

  1.  When engaging internal and external stakeholders using Life Cycle Assessment, what do you feel are your greatest challenges?
  2.  How do you incorporate broader sustainability elements into LCA in your organizations?  And conversely, how do you use LCA to support your broader sustainability goals?
  3.  What are the advantages of the Three Level Model that can be applied in the specialty chemical or pharmaceutical industry or other industries?

08:30 Sarah MandlebaumJack ScottDiane Herndon and Jon Dettling

Applying an LCA-based corporate footprint to evaluate sustainability priorities at a leading pet care company

ABSTRACT. Nestle Purina Petcare US (Purina) is a leading pet care product manufacturer in the US market. Based on a variety of internal and external factors, Purina is motivated to be able to set and follow an effective strategy on sustainability over the coming years, a major component of which is managing the ways in which the company’s business impacts the environment. To provide a foundation for this work, the company elected to conduct a corporate environmental footprint, based on a life cycle assessment (LCA). The goals of this footprinting work are to provide an understanding of the relative magnitude of various areas of environmental impact within the footprint, to be able to set a strategy and goals for improvements, to identify the best course of action and to have a basis for tracking improvements over time.

Working with consultants, Quantis, Purina assembled thorough data on a wide range of their business, using calendar year 2014 as the timeframe for the evaluation. The data included covers such information as raw material production, inbound and outbound logistics, production operations, packaging, and information to characterize retail, consumer use and end-of-life. The scoping and methodology of the project are based on an LCA concept, drawing on the ISO 14044 standard and the GHG Protocol Scope 3 standard where appropriate. A complete impact assessment, using the IMPACT 2002+ method was applied. The extensive use of animal by-products from the human food chain in the pet industry raises an important allocation issue that has been addressed here by applying an economic allocation within the relevant production systems.

The results of the assessment illustrate the sources of environmental impact within Purina’s value chain and show the relative importance of each area. Although there is some variation, the overall findings are relatively consistent for most of the environmental impact areas, with the raw material supply chain being the most prominent source of impact across each of the impact categories. In many cases, transportation, and packaging are also important areas of environmental impact. Dividing the company among various product categories illustrates further variation and understanding of where substantial impacts do or don’t occur. For example, packaging is a relatively important source of impact for the wet pet food category and only a very small contributor for the dry food category.

Provided with this information and understanding, Purina is beginning use this information to help shape their directions on environmental sustainability issues, including plans for environmental improvements and also potentially using the information to better communicate on their sustainability activities, both internally and externally.

08:45 Mandy WescheMichael HäberlMarco Kohnke and Stephan Scholl

Integration of ecological aspects in sustainable special chemical production in multi-purpose plants
SPEAKER: Mandy Wesche

ABSTRACT. Sustainability has become a major topic in the process development strategy for companies in the chemical, special chemicals and pharmaceutical industry [1, 2]. Besides social and economical aspects ecological considerations are gaining increasing attention as part of the improvement of existing and the design of new processes and production sites.

In special chemical production the manufacturing facilities are often operated as multi-purpose plants (MPP). Individual production processes for different products are set up modularly by combining relevant unit operations. In existing MPP the portfolio of feasible unit operations and available equipment is fixed and new production processes have to fit into this portfolio. Thus, none of the processes use specifically tailored equipment. It can be assumed that these processes exhibit large potentials in regard to energy and resource efficiency.

This contribution will present an approach for a modular based modeling method that allows the assessment of processes in such MPP. It considers the special challenges of MPP: 1. Acquisition of consumption data of single processes taking into account central equipments of the MPP. 2. Allocation of ecological expenditures resulting from provision, disposal and service and maintenance of the MPP to the different processes manufactured in the plant.

The application of the developed approach will be shown for a special chemical production process. The approach is based on the Three Level Model, which considers different levels of detail for process modeling: unit operation, process and production site. It forms the foundation for process reflections in material flow based simulation tools, e.g. umberto® [3]. The transparent reflection of all components, mass and energy flows allows a systematic process analysis including the identification of unit operations with significant ecological relevance.

Furthermore allocation approaches with different levels of detail have been considered and the individual influence of the assignment accuracy has been determined. The combination of calculated consumption data in the model and the allocated plant expenditure enable a holistic ecological assessment of production process. The presented approach supports a continuous consideration and improvement of ecological aspects in the optimization of existing as well as the development of new manufacturing processes.

[1] Grundemann, L., Gonschorowski, V., Fischer, N., Scholl, S.: Cleaning waste minimization for multi­product plants: transferring macro batch to micro conti manufacturing. J. Cleaner Prod. 24, 92-101(2012). [2] Huebschmann, S. et al.: Decision Support Towards Agile Eco-Design of Microreaction Processes by Accompanying (Simplified) Life Cycle Assessment, Green Chem. 13, 1694 – 1707 (2011). [3] Schmidt , M.: Stoffstromnetze zwischen produktbezogener und betrieblicher Ökobilanzierung. In: Schmidt, M. und A. Häuslein (Hrsg.): Ökobilanzierung mit Computerunterstützung. Produktbilanzen und betriebliche Bilanzen mit dem Programm Umberto. Springer-Verlag, 1997.

09:00 Angela FisherWilliam Flanagan and Gary Steinberg

Lighting the Future with LED: Using LCA for Product Design Insights

ABSTRACT. The lighting industry is in the midst of a dramatic shift away from legacy lighting technologies towards LED-based lighting. This transformational shift has dramatic implications for the energy efficiency of lighting in the built environment, and also has implications regarding materials and supply chain.

GE Lighting designs and sells a wide variety of lighting products including innovative new solid-state (LED) lighting products. Last year, GE Lighting and GE’s Ecoassessment Center of Excellence teamed up with Yale University students as part of an ‘LCA Practicum’ graduate course in which student teams work on real LCA projects in conjunction with industries or municipalities. The goals of the GE/Yale LCA studies were to: (1) understand the key areas of life cycle environmental benefit of several different LED solutions relative to the legacy HID solution; (2) identify opportunities in product design; (3) enhance internal awareness of environmental life cycle concepts; and (4) lay the groundwork for building LCA data across similar product lines.

The study results confirmed the importance of use phase energy efficiency and identified other hot spots and improvement opportunities across the life cycle of the products. The findings from the collaboration projects were leveraged internally to engage with key business stakeholders; further efforts are underway to explore dematerialization and reduced material diversity, critical materials, product take-back, and customer education.

In addition to the LCA results, this presentation will also reveal strategies for collaborating with internal business partners on product ecodesign efforts and commercial engagement.

09:15 Cashion East and Paula Bernstein

Development of Life Cycle Calculation and Reporting Tools at Eco-Products

ABSTRACT. Eco-Products, a leading supplier of sustainable, single-use foodservice packaging products, has teamed up with PRé to create a comprehensive, multi-functional software installation designed to assist in internal sustainability analysis, developing public sustainability reports, and creating customized customer reports. The tool will provide life cycle data and calculation functions that will allow Eco-Products to both provide life-cycle data to customers and the general public, as well as explore opportunities for improving the environmental footprint of its products and operations. The first phase of the project involves mapping each of Eco-Products’ main product types into life-cycle data models, creating a comprehensive data repository to support the calculations within the tool. Data will be derived from Eco-Products own operations, supply chain, and existing industry average databases. The resulting dataset will be used to support reporting and analysis by Eco-Products’ sustainability team. After the database has been built, PRé will be working with Eco-Products to build scenarios to both explore individual products and their supply chains, as well as to create customized calculators that will allow Eco-Products to quickly and easily provide their customers with detailed reports covering the environmental impacts of the total purchases that were made each year. These reports include footprints for the total of all products purchased, as well as more in depth analysis on the drivers of the impacts for individual product groups. This presentation will cover the development of the datasets and customized calculators, and will explore the use cases for these approaches as implemented by Eco-Products.